Best New Wearables for 2018

June 14, 2018

5:25 am

Want some smart tech for your wrist? These are the best new and innovative wearables you’ll be able to buy this year – from budget-yet-brilliant models such as the Xiaomi MiBand 3 to hardcore sports watches like the Suunto 9.

Most companies are embellishing their new wearables with in-depth health and expanded sports tracking capabilities – regardless of whether they’re fitness trackers, smartwatches or multisports watches. Lots of brands are also trying to undercut their competitors, and we’re finally seeing some serious price drops in the wearables space.

But which wearable is right for you? We round up the latest innovations in wearables for 2018 to make sure you buy the right band for your wrist.

Xiaomi MiBand 3

What is it?

The Xiaomi MiBand 3 is a bargain fitness tracker, which should set you back about $30 when it goes on sale. Yep, just $30.

For this price, you’ll get a slim, lightweight fitness tracker with a small OLED panel which should track all your steps, active minutes and your sleep duration. It’s also got a heart-rate monitor, and you should be able to track cycling and running as well. The MiBand 3 is waterproof, but whether it’ll track swimming metrics is unclear.

How is it different?

Did you miss the price? There’s literally no other wearable that offers such a wide gamut of features for such a low price.

While it’s not necessarily innovative in the features it offers, for Xiaomi to fit an OLED screen, a heart rate monitor, and near field communication (NFC) into a fitness tracker that costs around $30 is genuinely remarkable. At the moment, there’s no news on when the MiBand 3 will go on sale outside of China, but we’ll update you as soon as we know.

Asus VivoWatch BP

Asus VivoWatch BP

What is it?

A new health-tracking wearable from Asus, launched at its Computex show. Asus made it quite clear that the VivoWatch BP wasn’t a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, but was instead a health-tracking device.

How is it different?

It is the first wearable to monitor the user’s blood pressure. This is big news because, according to Asus, there are 9.4m deaths around the world due to high blood pressure or complications from high blood pressure – and Asus wants this watch to save lives.

The VivoWatch BP tracks blood pressure by taking readings from the user’s finger on a metal plate on the face of the watch. This does mean the VivoWatch BP has to sacrifice some screen size to accommodate the metal sensor, but if this watch might save your life, most consumers would be willing to compromise.

As well as the blood pressure monitoring, the VivoWatch BP will also keep track of your heart rate, sleep quality, basic activity data and its de-stress index should help you, well, “de-stress”. You can expect a 28-day battery life from the VivoWatch BP. There’s no word on availability, or pricing, but it’s likely to arrive before the end of 2018.

Apple Watch Series 3 watchOS 5

Apple Watch with watchOS 5

What is it?

An update to the operating system of the best-selling smartwatch in the world. WatchOS 5 was shown off at WWDC and has a big focus on health and increased sport tracking. It’ll be available on Apple Watch Series 1-3 in the fall, but not on the original Apple Watch.

How is it different?

Apple’s watchOS 5 isn’t a huge suite of changes, but it’s another small evolution to make the Apple Watch the only wearable you could possibly need.

The new watchOS 5 adds in quite a few new features including: Activity competitions, which will challenge you to beat your friend’s activity records over the course of a week, Automatic workout detection, a new Yoga workout, tracking for hikes and the functionality to listen to podcasts as you workout.

There are also some more in-depth running features coming with watchOS 5, including: Pace targets (and alerts to tell you if you’re ahead or behind it), rolling miles, which allow you to see your split time for the preceding mile on the fly, and cadence tracking.

On top of all this, watchOS 5 brings a new press-to-talk feature, improvements to Apple’s digital smart assistant, Siri, and some changes to notifications, including letting you view web content on the tiny 42mm screen.

Find out more about everything else that happened at Apple’s WWDC

Suunto 9

Suunto 9

What is it?

The latest in Suunto’s long line of bulky, expensive, hardcore multisport watches. It can track over 80 different sports, it’s water-resistant to 100m and throws in a barometer, just for good measure. If you take your sports seriously – and we mean sports, plural – the Suunto 9 might be a great companion for you. It’ll set you back $599 and will ship on June 26.

How is it different?

Battery life is always a chief complaint among watches like this. After all, tracking your heart rate, GPS, the weather and whatever sport you’re actually taking part in is tricky.

So, Suunto has created three different battery modes which allow you to track your exercise without limiting the core functions you need – these changes should, allow you up to 120 hours of recording time with GPS.

If that sounds like overkill, it shouldn’t. Suunto is pitching the 9 at off-road triathletes and other hardcore athletes. This isn’t a watch for tracking trips to the store or 3-mile runs at lunch.

Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa

What is it?

A proper smartwatch, at long last, from fitness-band maestro Fitbit. It’s proven popular, too. The San Fran-based company has managed to ship over a million Versas since it went on sale in April.

Why is it different?

For a start, it’s cheaper than its Apple Watch competition, at $199.95, rather than the $329. The Versa also has a pretty impressive four-day battery life, is good for sports and sleep tracking, including swim tracking and has GPS and NFC.

The Versa also can be synced up with Fitbit’s innovative Female Health tracking. This new feature to the Fitbit ecosystem has already attracted over 2.4m users and can be used to track a user’s menstrual cycle to help women understand their bodies.

Read more about new gear and gadgets on TechCo

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Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech.Co covering everything from website builders to mobile phones. He also loves soccer, probably too much.

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